811 Call Before You Dig
Know what's below
Those planning to dig (especially in the vicinity of buried utility lines, pipes or cables) should remember these points:
- Dig safely
- Respect the marks
- Call before you dig by contacting the Sunshine 811 (SS811) of Florida with a proposed excavation project at least two but no more than five business days prior to digging. This not-for profit center notifies all appropriate utilities free-of-charge to ensure proper work coordination and to prevent damage to underground facilities. The center has customer service representatives available from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 811. It also offers website access 24 hours a day, seven days a week at Sunshine 811. Copies of SS811's Excavation Guide are available as well.
Who is required to notify Sunshine State One-Call?
Anyone who intends to excavate (disturb the surface of the earth) in Florida, unless a specific exemption listed in s. 556.108, F.S., applies.
I've hit a facility; what do I do now?
Whether there is visible damage or not, you must stop excavating. If lives or property are in danger, call 911 immediately. Then notify the owner of the affected underground facility directly. Excavators and members may access the emergency contact book using Internet Ticket Entry. Others can call Sunshine 811 at 811.
When can I remove the flags or other physical markings on my property?
Flags or other physical markings are valid for 20 calendar days. Flags or other physical markings that are no longer valid may be removed. Removal of valid flags or other valid physical markings is a misdemeanor.
Is this service just required for businesses?
No. If you're beginning a home improvement project that requires digging or adjusting the grade of your property, Sunshine 811 recommends that you call 811 before digging if you don't know where underground facilities are located on your property.
Note: Homeowners are exempt from calling SS811 unless they are excavating in the utility easements or where underground facilities are located. Typical home improvement projects that can lead to serious damage include putting up a fence, mailbox post, swing set or clothesline pole; building a deck or room addition; and planting a garden, trees or shrubbery.
What do the markings mean?
Temporary markings play an important role nationwide for contractors, construction crews, homeowners and any others involved with excavating on a particular property. They are all part of the American Public Works Association's (APWA) Uniform Color Code, used to indicate the exact locations of underground utility lines.
Here's what the colors signify:
- white - proposed excavation
- blue - potable water
- green - sewers and drain lines
- purple - reclaimed water and irrigation lines
- pink - temporary survey markings
- red - electric power lines, cables, conduit and lightning cables
- yellow - gas, oil, steam, petroleum or gaseous materials
- orange - communication, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduits
City of Tallahassee crews use a water-based spray paint to show utility locations at all necessary points. That means you may see lines, circles and arrows on lawns, streets, driveways, easements, curbs or construction sites.
Usually, if there's a lot of work activity or heavy equipment on a construction site, utility crews will also use small, color-coded flags that correspond to the paint colors. These are more visible to equipment operators, although they often fall prey to vandals, children, lawnmowers and errant bulldozers.
For more information please visit the Sunshine 811.